12/01/2012

Future of vet surveillance should not be based on cost cutting

The BVA has welcomed the new advisory group on veterinary surveillance in England and Wales, but claimed that any future model should be shaped by good surveillance strategies, not based on a need to cut costs.

The British Veterinary Association (BVA) has welcomed the new advisory group on veterinary surveillance in England and Wales and called for the future model to be shaped by good surveillance strategies that fulfil the country's needs not based on cost cutting.

AHVLA logoThe Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA) has set up the independent advisory group, under the chairmanship of Dirk Pfeiffer, professor of veterinary epidemiology at the Royal Veterinary College, to recommend a future delivery model for veterinary surveillance in England and Wales.

The advisory group includes representatives from Government, the veterinary profession, livestock farming and private laboratories.

As part of the process AHVLA will also be publishing an online survey in mid-January aimed at individual veterinary practitioners and livestock keepers to gather individual opinions on the inputs, mechanisms, outputs and value of surveillance in England and Wales.

BVA president Carl Padgett.BVA president Carl Padgett said: "Veterinary surveillance is an essential component in our animal health, public health, food security, and international trade work. The emergence of Schmallenberg virus in ruminants in northern Europe demonstrates the current value and ongoing need for a robust surveillance system to work both nationally and internationally.

"The BVA welcomes the establishment of the advisory group and particularly the wide range of veterinary expertise and experience that is represented on the group. It is important that views from both veterinary practitioners and veterinary scientists are fed into this review.

However, he added: "While we understand that AHVLA and DEFRA must ensure value for money from the surveillance network, any future model must be shaped by good surveillance strategies, not the need to cut costs."

Mr Padgett also urged all veterinary practitioners in England and Wales to contribute to the discussions by completing the forthcoming online survey, and concluded: "We look forward to engaging with the advisory group as it carries out the review and beyond."

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